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Thread: Helmet Cam Review

  1. #1
    Farkin Activist scratchy's Avatar
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    Default Helmet Cam Review

    The man in charge of Coffs Downhill and Rotorburn's toughest moderator; Dozer, has spent some time testing a fancy helmet cam due for release soon from M2 Distribution. HD recording at 60fps at the full wide angle (not like some others) with screen and remote control. Were we jealous? Just a little read on...


  2. #2
    Farkin Activist scratchy's Avatar
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    I’ve spent the last few hours on a totally drenched downhill mountain bike course here in sunny Coffs Harbour. I usually tend to stay off a wet trail but I know the guy who builds and maintains the trails in these parts and we get along okay. I didn’t do any damage to the trail and I have video evidence to prove it…………

    I’ve just wiped the mud off the new Drift HD Action Camera distributed in Australia by M2 Distribution. This little number will be available through all good Australian bike shops for $399 and is jam packed with the features you’d expect from a current day and even somewhat advanced action camera.

    The camera records at up to 1080p Full HD video resolution (25 / 30 / 50 / 60 frames per second in 720p or 25 / 30 frames per second in 1080p). You won’t get frustrated with this camera as you can leave your gloves on to function the buttons on the menu quickly and easily. You can set the image capture the way you want it by using the simple LCD menu and easy controls on the side of the camera and be on your bike again before you’ve got your breath back. I ran the camera on the 1080p with 30 frames per second setting and it plays a fine picture on my Mac. I used the pre release version which hasn’t been upgraded to the latest firmware so the image will be even better once updated.

    As far as storage for your media goes, I used a micro SD card. You can plug a USB cable into the camera itself to view your recordings or take the micro SD out and slot it into the SD card to view it that way. There is a plethora of SD cards available in all storage sizes and the quality of the card can now be defined by what class you get. A quick internet search will give you many options for picking the right SD card. A micro HDMI cable can also be used to view it through your TV and you can plug a mic into also to enhance your sound recording.

    A nifty feature I found very useful on this camera is the rotating lens. There is no need to spend hours reading your instruction manual to figure out how to have the image inverted on your camera as you can mount the camera and rotate the lens by hand to get it at the angle you want it. I used the mounting strap to put the camera next to the head tube on my bike and recorded the XC loop. It turned out a little too distant so I used the zoom function on the camera and refined it. I then did the loop in reverse but this time I spun the camera around so it was shooting backwards. I rotated the lens, clipped back in and used the remote control that is supplied to start the recording. I did all of that without taking the camera off the bike and it took less than thirty seconds. You can start the recording process by pressing a button on the camera or hitting the button on the small remote that you sync with the camera. It is so simple!

    Mounting options aren’t limited with the Drift HD. I’ve had the camera on my bike in directions using the strap and mounting base provided, I’ve sat the camera on still ground and done a few fly buys and I’ve used the goggle mount to film a few runs on the downhill track. I haven’t used a goggle mount that doesn’t wobble and turn out crap but this beast works a treat! All you need to do is feed the plastic base mounted to your camera onto your goggle strap…………..and go! It did not move or wobble at all and really showed the detail of the trail I was riding. As it was wet I got a couple of mud spots on the lens the same way you do with goggles. I have a spray bottle full of water in my shuttle car when riding to spray the mud off my goggle lens (there is a secret performance tip for you) and I did the same with the Drift HD. You can’t scuba dive with this camera but it is resilient to rain, puddle splash and a thin coating of mud.

    The camera isn’t something that weighs a ton or will get in the way. I never noticed the extra 120 grams of weight on my helmet and certainly didn’t feel any extra weight when throwing the bike around. It is relatively small in size at 105mm long, 50mm high and 33mm wide. The LCD screen on one side takes up about half of the camera, the removable rear cover opens up to reveal the connections and the front tapers into the rotating lens making the camera quite a presentable package that won’t stand out for it’s bad looks but rather it’s sleek appearance. The mounting hardware isn’t complicated and doesn’t take up too much room or cover your cool stickers up too badly either. The packaging of the camera is about the size of two sandwiches stacked with the works from the sandwich bar which means taking the camera and the mounting hardware with you is a breeze.

    Charging the lithium batter is as you’d expect. You plug the camera into your powered up PC and the blue light signals it is charging. I have a wall socket that takes USB cables so I charged it once overnight and filmed an hours worth of riding and still had half of the battery life left on the display. You could grab a USB car charger to top up the battery while you do another loop if it is safe to do so as well.
    This camera could well be your do it all job as it can also take a 9 megapixel still photo. You can mount the camera to a tripod via a generic thread which opens up all sorts of recording opportunities. There is also another great recording feature for night mode. I’m yet to test this as it has rained the whole time I’ve had the camera and our XC night loops tend to bite. I’d hate to finish this review with the word that I went over the bars and still can’t find the camera in the mud!

    The night before I used the camera I went over some details at http://driftinnovation.com/drift-hd-action-camera/ and found that the camera is on par with what is available already but with some good features to help you decide on a purchase. The highlights of the camera for me are the awesome rotating lens function, the standard inclusion of an LCD screen, the easy to use menu with simple buttons, the ability to start your recording by using a small remote, the ability to improve the camera via firmware updates and the robust build quality. These key things make this camera very attractive to anyone who wants to get a camera and record some awesome footage for their own pleasure, to show friends what they do of a weekend or for people wanting to document an entire race weekend by filming on the bike, around the pits and doing interviews. As for the less attractive parts of the Drift HD, I would say the idea of the exposed areas and rotating parts being contaminated by dust or water may play on my mind. I would also be holding my breath after a crash to see if the LCD screen has been broken but like any compact piece of electric equipment it can break! All in all, I would recommend this camera to those who like the idea of a simple product made easy to use by it’s well thought out design and for people who like to get out there. There are plenty of HD cameras to choose from and each has it’s own special feature but this one should be at the pointy end of your shopping list.

    Update: The video footage is now here! Check it!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMjS5BBAv_o
    Last edited by Dozer; 18-09-2011 at 08:14 PM. Reason: Video link added

  3. #3
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    G'day,

    Can you just clarify which Drift camera was reviewed?

    The photo and "Launch Helmet Cams" link in the review are the HD170 Stealth, but the review and price indicates the Drift HD.

    Cheers,

    Damo
    Quote Originally Posted by Bretty. View Post
    If BansheeTwoTwelve > User Lists > Ignore List > Confirm User List Modification > Yes if a trend then consider me a little scene kid on a bike with no seatpost and bars wider than I am tall.

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    Thanks for the review... very nice. Only omission is some example footage (via Vimeo or Youtube)

  5. #5
    Heavy machinery. Dozer's Avatar
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    The camera I reviewed is the Drift HD. I haven't included any footage in this review as I've waited for the latest firmware update. I can now say that I'll be posting some links later this week to back up just how great this camera is to use.

    Update: The video has had the firmware updated and is now here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMjS5BBAv_o
    Last edited by Dozer; 18-09-2011 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Update!

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    Great review.
    Would be awesome to hear some feed back in regards to a direct comparrison with 1 or 2 top runners like the GoPro's.
    My grandfather has the heart of a lion and a lifetime ban from the zoo

  7. #7
    Heavy machinery. Dozer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftking View Post
    Great review.
    Would be awesome to hear some feed back in regards to a direct comparrison with 1 or 2 top runners like the GoPro's.
    I will be conducting that very test real soon. I may even have some more unreleased goodies to throw into the mix. Stay tuned!

  8. #8
    South Shore Distribution MrCove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D/\M0 View Post
    G'day,

    Can you just clarify which Drift camera was reviewed?

    The photo and "Launch Helmet Cams" link in the review are the HD170 Stealth, but the review and price indicates the Drift HD.

    Cheers,

    Damo
    looks like it's the new version of the Stealth, smaller, lighter, replaceable lens better mic
    i have a stealth, takes good footage


    i'll be interested to know what editing software Dozer uses

    A

  9. #9
    Farkin Activist scratchy's Avatar
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    At the moment, it doesn't look like he uses any!

  10. #10
    Heavy machinery. Dozer's Avatar
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    I'm editing some stuff as we speak and I'll have some footage to tag into this review in the next couple of days so stay tuned!

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